Honolulu Marathon 2007

Honolulu Marathon

December 9, 2007

View from the hotel
This was the view from the lanai of my hotel room at the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach. The hotel is right at the entrance to Kapiolani Park, where the shuttles picked us up to take us to the Start Line, and also where the marathon finished. So it was very convenient! And a very nice hotel.
arriving at the starting line
I got up at about a quarter to 3 am (my alarm was set for 2:30, but I went back to sleep for a little while after I shut it off), got ready and headed for the shuttle buses at about 3:30. Oops! I’d forgotten to use the Afrin to keep my sinuses clear for the race. But I had plenty of time, so I went back to the hotel to spray my nose. Then back to catch the shuttle. I arrived at the starting line staging area at about 4 am. This was the view as the runners arrived.
Look! It’s a UFO!
Not really. It’s a revolving restaurant at the top of a high-rise building downtown. It’s lit up like a flying saucer at night.
I then spent about 50 minutes in line for the restroom. Oh well, what else was I going to do while I waited? It was raining off and on all morning. Several deluges, and I was soaking wet by the time the marathon started.
lining up for the start
At about ten to 5 am, I lined up behind the other runners at the “6 hours and over” sign. The starting area is marked off in one-hour increments so that people can line up near the hour they expect to finish. That way, the slow runners are at the back and won’t get in the way of the faster runners.
The marathon starts off with a bang! Fireworks right at the 5 am start. Of course, those of us way at the back didn’t actually cross the starting line until nearly a half-hour later. We wore timing chips on our shoes that registered our time crossing the starting line and various other places throughout the race, so our times were accurate no matter how long it took to cross the starting line.
Christmas decorations
The first few miles were through downtown Waikiki, where many of the buildings and trees were decorated for Christmas.
By the time we were back on Kalakaua, the tourist strip, dawn was beginning to break.
We passed these fountains just above the beach.
passing by my hotel
The building on the far corner is my hotel, which we passed just before we entered Kapiolani Park.
mile 6
Just inside the entrance to the park was the 6-mile mark.
Many groups lined the sidewalk, cheering on the runners. A lot of Japanese people come on tours to run in the Honolulu Marathon, so shouts of “Gambatte!” were common along the way.
Diamond Head
Diamond Head loomed in the distance as we came out of the park.
front runners passing by
As we left the park, we began to see the front runners returning to the finish line. We were coming up on eight miles; this runner was about to finish the race with a time of around 2:30. The winner had already crossed the finish line.
circling Diamond Head
The rest of us still had a long day ahead of us! We were now circling around Diamond Head.
clouds over the ocean
The sky was still cloudy as the sun continued to rise over the ocean.
circling Diamond Head
Diamond Head was off to the left as we circled around at about mile 9.
runners fill the highway
Then we turned right and headed down the hill. You can see the runners filling the highway off into the distance.
runners with ponchos
Now we were heading west along the highway. The rain had ended, but many of the runners kept their ponchos, just in case.
mile 11
We headed up the on-ramp onto the freeway at Mile 11.
oncoming runners
Again, we met the faster runners coming back on the right. At this point, the oncoming runners were slowing down.
mile 15
At around Mile 15, we began the loop around to come back. Here’s where I lost about 15 minutes stopping to use the rest room. If I’d hung on a couple of miles longer, the next rest stop had no lines and would have only taken a few minutes. Oh well! I suppose the rest didn’t hurt.
around a lake
We crossed a bridge, went around a lake, and came back on the other side.
mile 16
Mile 16! Only 10.2 miles to go!
faster than me
The little girl on the right was running with her mother. She was ahead of me the whole way, and I’m sure beat my time.
We crossed the bridge on the other side. The sun was finally starting to come out, which meant it was hot and still stiflingly humid.
Coming up on one of the aid stations at around 18 miles. Volunteers hand out water, Gatorade, cold sponges, and ice. They’re there all day long, and we really appreciate it!
percussion band
This percussion band was set up beside the road to entertain us and keep us moving along!
accordian player
This lady is there every year, playing Christmas carols on her accordion.
passing slower runners
Now, finally, we were the ones heading back, and passing slower runners on the right!
mile 20
Twenty miles! People are stopping to rest at the side of the road. We’re getting pretty tired now.
your finisher's shirt is waitig
This sign says, “Your finisher’s shirt is waiting!” in English and Japanese.
runner's shirt
This runner’s shirt says,”If you can onry achieve 50% of your gorl, why don’t you set your goal higher than 100%.” No, I don’t know what it means, either.
flower gate
We must be passing through quite an affluent neighborhood. Many of the homes have gorgeous gates and entryways.
And here, at about 22 miles, my camera batteries died. I’d brought extras, but left them at the hotel. Duh! So I have no photo of the Finish Line, but I did cross it! In fact, I sped up a bit for the last 1.2 miles, trying to beat my time in my last marathon. Which I did! My official finishing time was 7:40:56, about a minute and a half faster than my LA time of 7:42:31. Go me!
finisher's shirt and medal
I was going to have a finisher’s photo taken, but I decided to pick up my tee-shirt first. Bad idea! Kapiolani Park had been thoroughly soaked by all the rain, and by the time I found the tent where the tee-shirts were being given out, I’d soaked my feet and splattered mud up to my knees. I didn’t want to take a picture of myself looking like that, so I just went back to the hotel. But here’s a photo of my tee-shirt, shell lei with finisher’s medal, and my runner’s bib.
It was a lot of fun, despite the rain. I never got very tired, and kept up a good pace the whole way. The worst part was that my socks and shoes were wet pretty much the whole way, which resulted in many many blisters on my feet. But blisters will heal, and I have my fifth marathon to remember!

Honolulu Marathon 2002

Honolulu Marathon

December 9, 2002

Left to right, top row: Shelly, Cari, Leigh, Cody Bottom row: Julie1, Jen, Julie2
Thanks to Jen for the T-shirts!
The cold and sleepy Gretes gathered to await the 5 am start. It was still only around 3:30 am when we arrived, so we had plenty of time to pump ourselves up for the race!
The cold and sleepy Gretes gathered to await the 5 am start. It was still only around 3:30 am when we arrived, so we had plenty of time to pump ourselves up for the race!
waiting for the start
Over 33,000 people had registered for the marathon. Many were Japanese families who came on organized tours to combine a vacation with the race.
waiting for the bathroom
True to our motto (“Grete Waitz for no one! except the bathroom”), we took our first bathroom break of the day in long lines at the Porta Potties, set up across from the Start Line in Ala Moana Park.
chanting to inspire
Then we made our way across to Ala Moana Blvd to find ourselves a place in the crowd. We sat on the median, and our Hawaiian member Julie1 led us in a Hawaiian chant to inspire us and focus our energies for the effort.
The Starting Gun went off promptly at 5 am, and we were off, to a grand show of fireworks!
the race begins
We’re off! Over 30,000 runners began what for many would be a long, long day! It took nearly fifteen minutes for us to reach the official start, behind so many other participants. Our official times were kept by means of electronic chips attached to our shoes, which recorded exactly when we crossed the start and finish lines, and several other locations along the way, so our official times were still accurate.
hula boy
The first four miles of the marathon wound through downtown Waikiki, decorated with Christmas lights that lit up the early morning. Eventually, we came past our hotels on Kapiolani Blvd, where this pretty boy in a hula skirt was there to cheer us on.
Leigh and Tony
My running partner, Leigh, posed with her husband Tony in front of the Hyatt. She’d called him on her cell phone to meet her with something she’d forgotten to bring along.She was nursing an injured IT band; I had a sore side from a recent car accident. We both planned on taking it slow and easy, with lots of walking, and no time goals, just hoping to be able to finish.
Heading out of Waikiki
Heading out of Waikiki,
Through Kapiolani Park
Through Kapiolani Park,
Towards Diamond Head
Towards Diamond Head.
taking it easy
Leigh and I walked the first three and a half miles or so, to get thoroughly warmed up and make sure we weren’t going to be in too much pain. We were doing pretty well, so we began to run with a 1:2 minute run/walk ratio. We were doing approximately 17–18 minute miles.
ocean through trees
The views of the ocean beyond the trees as we ran around Diamond Head were awesome. So was the sight of the front runners passing us going the other way towards the finish line—when we’d barely gone seven miles!
Diamond Head
There was Diamond Head above us,
and a lighthouse silhouetted in the early morning light. Fortunately, the skies remained cloudy and the temperature stayed relatively low—probably in the low 80s—until the afternoon.
behind Leigh
I got lots of pictures of the back of Leigh as I’d slow down to snap a shot and she’d continue on ahead.
18th Avenue
After circling Diamond Head, we headed up 18th Avenue, still going strong.
It had been raining a little, and rewarded us with a faint rainbow as we made our way towards mile nine.
girls running as bunnies
These Japanese girls were running dressed as bunnies, with ears and little fluffy tails. There were also runners dressed as ducks, fairies, tigers, Santa Clauses, even a Darth Vader.
Kalanianaole Highway
Then there was a long stretch down Kalanianaole Highway. After we’d passed the half-way point and were nearing mile fourteen, and were still feeling good, we decided to try a 2:2 run/walk ratio. Bad idea! My side immediately started hurting, and so did Leigh’s knee, so we went back to our tried-and-true 1:2 ratio.
turnaround point
Sometime after mile fifteen, we reached this lovely lake. We were tired, but we knew we were nearly at the turnaround point. It always seems easier when you’re running back towards your starting point, rather than running away from it!
mile 16
Approaching mile sixteen,
photo op
we stopped for a photo op,
and were cheered on by some of our supporters, who had gathered in spots all along the course to encourage us. They were really a big help.
Santa Claus accordianist
This lady, dressed as Santa Claus, played Christmas songs on her accordian to entertain the runners as we passed by.
trouble at mile 21
Mile twenty-one was our trouble spot. With only 5.2 miles to go, Leigh had stopped to stretch and her knee, which had been troubling her ever since the ill-fated attempt at 2:2, suddenly got a whole lot worse. She was barely able to walk. We were afraid we were going to have to drop her off with the gang of AIDS Marathon staff and supporters at mile twenty-two, but after some experimenting she found a gait (which we called her Night of the Living Dead walk) she could use that didn’t hurt her knee, and she determined to keep on. We walked the rest of the way from here.
keeping on
So on we went down the highway.
beautiful homes
We passed some beautiful homes with gorgeous metal-worked gates.
goldfish gates
This one had goldfish designs on its gates.
watching the runners go by
This lady and her dog were festively dressed in Santa hat and reindeer antlers, respectively, as they watched the runners go by from their front yard.
flower gate
Another beautiful gate, this one of flowers.
Diamond Head
Finally, we were once again in sight of Diamond Head, and the last few miles of the marathon.
water stations
By now, we’d been on the course for about eight hours, and the water stations were littered with discarded cups from the thousands of runners who’d already passed.
photo op
We stopped at a view point for photo ops.
carrying on
And we carried on up the hill, fortified by some chocolate Leigh had brought along for a little boost in the last few miles. Great idea, Leigh!
Do Not Go Beyond This Point
This sign warns, “Do Not Go Beyond This Point.” We thought that was a pretty good idea. But we went on anyway.
Scott cheers us on
One of our program reps, Scott, cheered us on the last few miles.
finish line
Back in Kapiolani Park, nearing mile twenty-six, we can finally see the Finish Line up ahead! Tired but happy, we broke into a (very slow) run to cross the finish line.
Leigh iced her knee
After finishing, we headed for the AIDS Marathon tent to check in and rest with snacks and Gatorade. Leigh iced her knee and reflected on the run.
finisher medals
Then we each posed outside the tent with our Finisher medals and tee-shirts.
Christmas trees
One of the Japanese groups had Christmas trees outside their tent.
Tired runners and their friends enjoyed the park. A great way to relax and unwind after the race!
finisher tshirt and medal
We finished! Yay us! Our time ended up at around 8:40. Our time was slow but we still had a great time.

Honolulu Marathon 2001

Honolulu Marathon

December 9, 2001

View from hotel
After six months of training with the AIDS Marathon Training Program in San Francisco, I arrived in Honolulu for my very first marathon. This was the beautiful view from the window of my fabulous room in the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Doesn’t it look just like a picture postcard?
I got up at around 2:30 am to meet the rest of my group and catch the bus to the starting line. The race began at 5:00 am with fireworks. And we were off!
heading up the hill
After running through downtown Waikiki, lit up with Christmas decorations, we ran through Kapiolani Park and then watched the day break as we headed up the hill along the side of Diamond Head.
runner with Santa hat
After running through downtown Waikiki, lit up with Christmas decorations, we ran through Kapiolani Park and then watched the day break as we headed up the hill along the side of Diamond Head.
mile 10
The day grew brighter as we circled around at about Mile 10.
Diamond Head
Diamond Head was off to our left.
heading down at mile 11
Then we headed toward town at about Mile 11. I kept getting my running partner Jesse’s left side in my pictures as I’d slow down to snap a shot.
runners adjust their shoes
A couple of runners stop to adjust their shoes.
Diamond Head
Diamond Head looms in the distance as we head back towards the finish line.
We run along the beach at about Mile 22
We run along the beach at about Mile 22.
It’s uphill for a few miles, but we keep pushing on.
Finished! Tired but happy, I posed with my finisher’s T-shirt.
AIDS Marathon runners after the marathon
With Diamond Head in the background, I posed for another photo with my running partner, Jesse (center), and another of our AIDS Marathoners (left).
finisher's medal and certificate
My official time was 6:57:02. I placed 15,589th out of 19,217 total finishers. Not bad!